24 March 2007

Monuments & Memorials

Today we slept in. Finally! Our third day in DC. Today we have decided to go to the National Mall and see the Memorials. Depending on how long that takes, we may go to Arlington Cemetery. But we have to be in Alexandria for dinner by 5:45pm so we may have to put off Arlington until tomorrow. The DC Marathon is tomorrow so we definitely don't want to come in to the city again until Sunday. This may mean that we don't get back to anything that we have missed. Guess I'll just have to come back some day.

We decided to park near the Washington Monument. Jokingly, we thought perhaps we could park in the same spot we had the other day. I kid you not - we did! We were in exactly the same parking spot. What are the odds of that?!?

We walked over to the WWII Memorial. It's very nice albeit controversial because it destroys the reflection of the Washington Monument in the Reflecting Pool. There were a few wreaths here and there.

Then we walked through Constitution Gardens. Some cherry trees were in bloom by the Signer's Memorial.

Next stop was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This was the one memorial that I did not want to miss. I wore an MIA bracelet for most of my childhood. A young man from my hometown had been shot down on my 3rd birthday. I wore the bracelet until his parents had him declared legally dead which was junior high or high school.

After Vietnam opened up to the West, his sister went to Vietnam and she was able to discover that he had, in fact, died not long after the crash.

We started at the wrong end and didn't have a list to look up his name, but I noticed papers that had the dates and locations. Since I know the exact date (how can I forget it), we were able to locate the panels for the month and it was just a matter of time before we found the name (see photo) James K Patterson. I have to admit I felt a little weepy. We left the memorial and were able to locate his name in the list on the other side. After a moment to compose myself, we set off for the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

I think this is a pretty cool Memorial. There are life-size sculptures of soldiers walking as though they were on patrol in Korea.

Then we went up to the Lincoln Memorial. After some time there, we walked along the Reflecting Pool back to the car. We still had an hour left on our time!

We headed over to the Jefferson Memorial and also saw the George Mason Memorial before heading home.

We didn't have enough time to go to Arlington before we had to get home for dinner so we decided to do it another day (we have two left).

At dinner, our hosts assure us we can do Arlington and Mount Vernon in one day. We decide to go to Mount Vernon first tomorrow as it is the furthest and we could always do Arlington on our way to the airport on Sunday.

I realize that I'm not going to see everything I had hoped to squeeze in on this trip, but I have seen and done quite a lot. I'm really glad I came on this trip.

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